Kargador at Dawn

Kargador at Dawn
Work in the Vineyard

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)


Readings:  Sirach 27: 30 – 28:7; Romans 14: 7-9; Matthew 18: 21 - 35

Selected Passage: “Then Peter approaching asked him, "Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus answered, "I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.” (Mt. 18: 21-22)

Meditation: How many times should I forgive people who have offended me? The gospel challenge is to forgive them as often as they ask.  This is tough! But the very message of Christianity is, precisely, to love and forgive without LIMIT!  Yes, it is about forgiving one’s brother and sister who hurts us many times. For Christ, there is NO limit to forgiveness. www.badaliyya.blogspot.com

DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD

Dhikr is an Arabic word which means REMEMBRANCE.
1st step: Write the text in your heart.
2nd step: Let the text remain always in on your lips and mind - RECITING the text silently as often as possible...
3rd step:  Be attentive to the disclosure of the meaning/s of the text in your life.



Monday, September 11, 2017

Islam and the West: Encounter or Clash?

Islam and the West in Europe: Encounter or Clash?
The growing presence of Muslims in Europe raises the question of compatibility between different views in the public sphere
Javier Maria Prades López | Oasis. 07 September 2017

The latest report by the Pew Research Center offers surprising data on the evolution of religions: Christianity currently represents 31.2 percent of the world’s population and Islam 24.1 percent. It is estimated that by 2060 Christianity will reach 31.8 percent, against 31.1 percent reached by Islam. The statistics predict that by mid-century the two religions will have roughly the same number of followers as well as that, together, they will comprise nearly 63 percent of the world’s population.

The evolution of each of the two religions and their mutual relationship is therefore of great interest for the social debate in the West. In fact, Islam preaches a form of monotheism that intends to reform and overcome the Jewish-Christian monotheism, besides also claiming to be a universal truth, differently from the religions of the Far East, for instance. For this reason, the growing presence of Muslims in Europe opens once again the question of the compatibility between different worldviews in the public sphere. Is an encounter between the West and Islam truly possible, or are they condemned to clash?

European societies struggle in dealing with this delicate situation, with obvious internal differences that cannot be dealt with here. In general terms, popular culture has undermined universal anthropological claims, especially those of the religion lived out in the West: Christianity. Following the Reformation, the cultural and political unity of the medieval faith broke into parties that fought wars with devastating effects on social life. For this reason, modern philosophy was born – among other things – with the intention of overcoming confessional divisions and maintaining some form of universal reference point that would guarantee coexistence.

At the end of the process, the universal value of Christian faith was challenged, while alternative forms of secularized universality started to appear. Thus, Reason, Science, State, History, Race and Market took God’s place. Nevertheless, there is often talk of “unsatisfied modernity”: the unquestionable technological and scientific progress of Western Europe, its very high level of economic and social development (which many envy) has not been accompanied by a comparable progress as far as questions on the meaning of life and God are concerned. The two atrocious wars of the twentieth century and totalitarianisms spread a dark shadow over Europe.

Even Islamic culture, however, is struggling to be an appropriate interlocutor. Recent years’ “revolutions” rose indeed from the fact that in these societies the need for freedom and other economic and social rights emerged. Uprisings were born in conditions of severe poverty and the lack of opportunities, particularly in terms of jobs. This demand for effective, concrete freedom can be perceived as a threat to religious universality, which is bound to the social order to the point that religion can appear to be a form of belief subordinate to that order. Islam will have to face this demand for freedom, and especially religious freedom, which is asking to thoroughly examine the understanding of human dignity. By claiming greater civil participation, the question raised will be about the kind of man who can be at the center of the third millennium. And this question is crucial in the West as well.

Right now, there are more questions than answers, both in the Western and Islamic world. The Muslim presence in Europe reveals that we do not share an answer about the universal value of anthropology and, in particular, of religion.

Starting from the inalienable social and legal achievements of recent centuries, it is necessary to revise the model that has been in force so far, since it is unable to meet the challenges posed by the growing Muslim presence. And vice versa, the long journey of the West can offer very precious elements to the Muslim world. A kind of Christianity that is alive represents an exceptional opportunity for Islam and, in turn, Islamic universalism forces us to rethink the reasons behind the anthropological and cultural crisis that the West with its Christian tradition is living.

Everyone can see that the coexistence between Christians and Muslims has been very complex and sometimes even extremely violent. Christians and Muslims are still suspicious of each other. Pope Francis’ historic visit to Egypt pushes us to decide whether we want to perpetuate this mutual exclusion or if we are willing to favor a culture of the encounter, supporting the “process of hybridization of civilization and culture” (Angelo Scola), starting with experiences of real relationships, however conflicting they might be, which already exist in Europe and the Near East.

The challenge goes beyond the essential safety and security measures. It requires personal implication. It is not even enough to simply provide humanitarian assistance; it is necessary to learn how to mutually accompany, listen, and explain, through patient dialogue and education, as the Pope suggests: “Education indeed becomes wisdom for life if it is capable of ‘drawing out’ of men and women the very best of themselves, in contact with the One who transcends them and with the world around them, fostering a sense of identity that is open and not self-enclosed.”1

The Pope’s gesture does not allow us Christians to be disinterested in the present moment. It is up to us to witness to everyone, and in the first place to all Muslims, that universal truth and freedom are bound together. They will either stand or fall together. Their most perfect relationship is that of love: “Nothing conquers except truth; the victory of truth is charity” (St. Augustine). The Pope’s journey calls into question the crystallized aspects of our conventional form of living the faith in our society, and urges us to start a process of encounter and education. Each encounter worthy of this name changes its interlocutors. Will change be possible so that this open identity will contribute to the good life of all? Many of our Christian brothers in the East and the West, and many Muslims, are waiting for this.

[This article was published on the Spanish newspaper ABC on Monday, June 12, 2017 - page 3].

1His Holiness Pope Francis, Address to the participants in the International Peace Conference, al-Azhar Conference Center, Cairo, 28 April 2017

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Pope Francis snd Patriarch Bartholomew Joint Message

Pope Francis’ and Patriarch Bartholomew’s Message
The story of creation presents us with a panoramic view of the world. Scripture reveals that, “in the beginning”, God intended humanity to cooperate in the preservation and protection of the natural environment.
At first, as we read in Genesis, “no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up – for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground” (2:5).
The earth was entrusted to us as a sublime gift and legacy, for which all of us share responsibility until, “in the end”, all things in heaven and on earth will be restored in Christ (cf. Eph 1:10).
Our human dignity and welfare are deeply connected to our care for the whole of creation. However, “in the meantime”, the history of the world presents a very different context. It reveals a morally decaying scenario where our attitude and behaviour towards creation obscures our calling as God’s co-operators.
Our propensity to interrupt the world’s delicate and balanced ecosystems, our insatiable desire to manipulate and control the planet’s limited resources, and our greed for limitless profit in markets – all these have alienated us from the original purpose of creation.
We no longer respect nature as a shared gift; instead, we regard it as a private possession. We no longer associate with nature in order to sustain it; instead, we lord over it to support our own constructs. The consequences of this alternative worldview are tragic and lasting.
The human environment and the natural environment are deteriorating together, and this deterioration of the planet weighs upon the most vulnerable of its people. The impact of climate change affects, first and foremost, those who live in poverty in every corner of the globe.
Our obligation to use the earth’s goods responsibly implies the recognition of and respect for all people and all living creatures. The urgent call and challenge to care for creation are an invitation for all of humanity to work towards sustainable and integral development.
Therefore, united by the same concern for God’s creation and acknowledging the earth as a shared good, we fervently invite all people of goodwill to dedicate a time of prayer for the environment on 1 September.
On this occasion, we wish to offer thanks to the loving Creator for the noble gift of creation and to pledge commitment to its care and preservation for the sake of future generations. After all, we know that we labour in vain if the Lord is not by our side (cf. Ps 126-127), if prayer is not at the centre of our reflection and celebration.
Indeed, an objective of our prayer is to change the way we perceive the world in order to change the way we relate to the world. The goal of our promise is to be courageous in embracing greater simplicity and solidarity in our lives.
We urgently appeal to those in positions of social and economic, as well as political and cultural, responsibility to hear the cry of the earth and to attend to the needs of the marginalized, but above all to respond to the plea of millions and support the consensus of the world for the healing of our wounded creation.
We are convinced that there can be no sincere and enduring resolution to the challenge of the ecological crisis and climate change unless the response is concerted and collective, unless the responsibility is shared and accountable, unless we give priority to solidarity and service.
From the Vatican and from the Phanar, 1 September 2017
Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

Friday, September 01, 2017

The Theological Roots of Islamic Extremism

Khawarij as the Theological Roots of Extremism in Islam…

With the emergence of the virulent Extremism in the World of Islam, studies and researches both by Muslims and non-Muslims have emerged in the last 20 years.  Most scholars, today, trace the theological roots of Extremism in Islam from
the main doctrine of the Khawarij and of their intellectual descendants of every era.

The Khawarij had accused ‘Ali, Uthman and the companions of the camel, the two arbitrators (Abu Musa al-Ash‘ari and ‘Amr bin al-‘As), and all those who had approved of arbitration, of the two arbitrators and at least one of them of unbelief (kafir). They thought moreover that the Caliph of the Muslims had to be elected by all Muslims, that the fact of belonging to the Qurayshi tribe was not a binding condition, and that it was actually better if the Caliph was not a Qurayshi so that he could be displaced or killed if he deviated from the Shari’a. On the basis of this principle they elected ‘Abd Allah bin Wahhab, who did not belong to the Qurayshi tribe and named him Commander of the Faithful (Caliph).

The Khawarij is an Islamic sect formed within the context of the crisis surrounding the prophet's succession. When the third Caliph ‘Uthman was assassinated in 656, he was succeeded by ‘Ali, the prophet’s cousin and son-in-law. But the Qurayshi clan, of which ‘Uthman was a part, reclaimed justice for the assassinated Caliph and contested ‘Ali's succession. Two Qurayshi, Talha e Zubayr waged war against ‘Ali close to Basra, but lost their lives in what became known as the Battle of the Camel.

In 657, at Siffin, a new conflict arose between ‘Ali partisans (in arabic shi‘at ‘Ali, from which the name ‘Shi’ite’ is derived) and the Qurayshi, led by Mu‘awiya the governor of Syria. But both sides decided to interrupt hostilities and resort to an arbitration to resolve the caliphate succession. A part of ‘Ali’s followers, the Khawarij, refused the principle of arbitration adducing that the “judgement is God's only”, accusing of apostasy both Mu’awiya – for having rebelled against the legitimate Caliph – and ‘Ali – for having accepted the arbitration

The opinion of the Khawarij regarding unbelief of sinners is based on the idea that works are a pillar of faith. The Salaf [the first generations of Muslims, considered an ideal example to be imitated] “among whom Malik [ibn Anas], al-Shafi‘i, Ahmad [ibn Hanbal] and Ishaq bin Rahawayh, maintained that faith comprises of belief (i‘tiqad), confession (iqrar) and works (‘amal). They believed, however, that believing is at the basis of faith, that confession is an expression and sign thereof (in the presence of which society can apply norms of faith to those who profess it), and that works are a condition for having a perfect faith. If works are not carried out, one’s faith is imperfect, but its foundation is still intact”. Ibn Hajar said: “The Salaf have stated: [to have faith means] to believe with the heart, profess with one’s tongue and act according to the Pillars [of Islam, in other words, prayer, fasting, etc.]”.

This is the fundamental idea of the Khawarij, from which others have been derived, such as the idea that all faults are grave sins (kaba’ir) and whoever commits them is a non-believer destined to dwell within the Fire for eternity. With this they intended that works are the condition for the perfection of faith.

In this context, the Khawarij separate themselves from the other faithful accusing them of unbelief. It is this group which has given birth to extremists and jihadists. 

The opinion of the Khawarij is contradicted also by what al-Bukhari reports regarding the story of a wine drinker: “Numerous times a drinker was brought to the Prophet – may peace and prayer be on Him – and some of his own said ‘God damn him.’ But the Prophet – may prayer and peace be on him – replied: ‘Don’t be of help to Satan against your brother.’” And in his Sunan Abu Dawd adds: “Rather say: ‘Oh God, forgive him! Oh God, have mercy on him!’” Hence, the golden rule: nothing can make you leave Islam except the refusal of what first made you enter it.

Al-Bukhari reports, relying on Abu Dharr, God be pleased by him, that the Prophet – may prayer and peace be on Him – said: “If a man accuses another man of iniquity and unbelief, these accusations will be redirected towards himself if the man he accuses is not guilty.” Thus in
Islam a sinner continues to be a Muslim and cannot be excommunicated. Faith does not fail even if works fail

To this end Ibn Taymiyya said something very important: “Nobody can accuse a Muslim of unbelief, no matter how much he has sinned or erred, until proof has been shown against him. If someone declares oneself a Muslim, a doubt is not enough, real proof is needed in order to declare him guilty. God does not deny the faith of Muslims that fight each other, as His words show: “If two parties of the believers fight, put things right between them; then, if one of them is insolent against the other, fight the insolent one till it reverts to God's commandment. If it reverts, set things right between them equitably, and be just. Surely God loves the just” (49:9). 

Beware of the Extremists!

Eliseo ‘Jun’ Mercado, OMI
Badaliyya – Philippines
June 3, 2017


(Note: This research is based on the speech by Shayk Ibrahim al-Hudhud, President of al-Azhar University, at the seminar of the Joint Committee for Dialogue between the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and al-Azhar, 22nd-23rdFebruary 2017. The speech was delivered in Arabic.)

Monday, August 21, 2017

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)


Readings: Isaiah 22: 19 – 21; Romans 11: 33 – 36; Matthew 16: 13 – 20

Selected Passage: He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter said in reply, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." (Matthew 16: 15-16)

Meditation: Today, Jesus is asking each and every one of us: "But who do you say that I am?"  Our answer determines the faith and values we stand by. Is Jesus for us a simple miracle worker? Is he a carpenter’s son?  With Peter we confess that He is the Son of God who gave his life as a ransom for our sins that we may have life to the full. He is now RISEN and he has become the source of life and pardon for our sins. www.badaliyya.blogspot.com

 DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD

Dhikr is an Arabic word which means REMEMBRANCE.
1st step: Write the text in your heart.
2nd step: Let the text remain always in on your lips and mind - RECITING the text silently as often as possible...
3rd step:  Be attentive to the disclosure of the meaning/s of the text in your life.



Wednesday, August 16, 2017

In Safer Hands than ours....

IN SAFER HANDS THAN OURS

The truth of those words can be particularly consoling when the deceased is a young person, someone whom we feel still needs the hands of an earthly mother and father and whom we would want to trade places with because we feel that he or she is too young to have to leave us and go off in death, alone. That is also true in the case of someone who dies in a far-from-ideal manner, suicide or a senseless accident.
Nothing can be more consoling than to believe that our loved one is now in far safer and gentler hands than our own.
Is this simple wishful thinking, whistling in the dark to keep up our courage? Fudging God’s justice to console ourselves?
Not if Jesus can be believed! Everything that Jesus reveals about God assures us that God’s hands are much gentler and safer than our own.
God is not a God of punishment, but a God of forgiveness. God is not a God who records our sins, but a God who washes them away. God is not a God who demands perfection from us, but a God who asks for a contrite heart when we can’t measure up. God is not a God who gives us only one chance, but a God who gives us infinite chances. God is not a God who waits for us to come to our senses after we have fallen, but a God who comes searching for us, full of understanding and care. God is not a God who is calculating and parsimonious in his gifts, but a prodigal God who sows seeds everywhere without regard for waste or worthiness. God not a God who is powerless before evil and death, but a God who can raise dead bodies to life and redeem what is evil and hopeless. God is not a God who is arbitrary and fickle, but a God who is utterly reliable in his promise and goodness. God is not a God who is dumb and unable to deal with our complexity, but a God who fashioned the depth of the universe and the deepest recesses of the human psyche.
Ultimately, God is not a God who cannot protect us, but is a God in whose hands and in whose promise we are far safer than when we rely upon ourselves.

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)


Readings: Isaiah 56: 1. 6-7; Romans 11: 13-15; Matthew 15: 21-28

Selected Passage: Then Jesus said to her in reply, "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish." And her daughter was healed from that hour. (Matthew 15:28)

Meditation: Great FAITH WORKS MIRACLES! Yes, Miracles still happen, today and they are NOT the exceptions. But to experience miracles, we need to believe. In the gospel, Jesus gives in to the request of the Canaanite woman, because of her great faith, Jesus cures her daughter.  Visit: www.badaliyya.blogspot.com

Badal is an Arabic word for “Substitution” or “Ransom”.  Louis Massignon had “discovered” the reality of BADAL – Substitution/Ransom for the reparation of injustices and for witnessing to the poor and victims of injustices.  Substitution/Ransom demands an offer of the total self – similar to the test of martyrdom or shahid.  Badaliyya is the movement began by Fr. Louis Massignon in Egypt.
DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD

Dhikr is an Arabic word which means REMEMBRANCE.
1st step: Write the text in your heart.
2nd step: Let the text remain always in on your lips and mind - RECITING the text silently as often as possible...
3rd step:  Be attentive to the disclosure of the meaning/s of the text in your life.